8 years ago my sister suggested I find a way to publish the amusing emails I sent her about our dog Zoe. Now there is blogging! Zoe tales are about Zoe (3 1/2 lb Chihuahua), Gracie (bigger and the world's friendliest Chihuahua) and other stuff I am thinking about. Enjoy!

Friday, April 15, 2005

I Can't Help Myself - Marketing Lessons From Reality TV

Yes I keep saying that I'm going to have a separate blog just about my thoughts on marketing. And I will when my website is up. But I couldn't resist sharing these observations since they combine two of my favorite things - marketing (the way I see it) and pop culture so here goes!

On the Apprentice, both last week and this week, the key to the winning team's success was talking to their consumers. Each week, one team tapped into the hearts and minds of the target market for their products and the difference showed.

Last week the teams were tasked with creating "wearable technology" for retailer American Eagle (teen and young adult clothing). When asked what the most important piece of technology was to their consumers one team correctly answered "cell phones" because they'd asked teens. The other team replied iPods. You might get that impression from the media but really - how many teens do you know that have iPods vs. how many teens you know that have cell phones? My 17 year old niece doesn't have an iPod, doesn't use email, doesn't play video games and rarely watches television but she literally cannot live without her cellphone. Lesson: Talk to your consumers before developing new products for them!

This week, the teams were charged with developing a brochure for a new Pontiac convertible. One all male team assumed that they would win easily because they were men so therefore understood cars and their consumers better than the other, 2/3 female team. Despite the fact that most car purchases are either made or influenced by women, the woman dominated team didn't assume they knew what potential buyers wanted - they asked! And, they took it a step further and connected to what they learned about consumers emotional response to the car. No surprise, the team that talked to consumers won. Lots of lessons here including talk to your consumers, connect with them emotionally not just rationally and remember that you are not the consumer - don't try and substitute your judgment for theirs!

The third lesson comes from American Idol and judges Paula and Randy. They made the rounds of talk shows today to hawk their Ultimate Voice Coach DVD. Do I think that watching this DVD will turn anyone into the next American Idol? No. But what I like about this product is that it's a smart extension of the American Idol and Paula and Randy brands.

What this DVD offers is the dream of being the next AI in a way that all the keychains, trading cards and other tchotchkes offered up by the AI licensing machine can't. Beyond offering the chance to get a little piece of the AI dream while still watching from the audience, you're now offered a chance to be part of the AI dream. The judges are a necessary part of achieving that dream so this product feels authentic. The lesson here? Expand your brand in ways that make sense for the emotional connection your consumers have to your brand.

It felt good to get that out! Wheee - can't wait to do this all the time :-)


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